The Sudanese authorities must fulfill their international obligations [fr]
Darfur / ICC
Statement by Mrs Sheraz Gasri, Legal Adviser of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 19 June 2019
I, too, want to thank the Prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, for presenting her twenty-ninth report on developments in the Darfur investigation.
On behalf of my country, I also want to commend the vital work done by the Prosecutor and her teams under resolution 1593 (2005) for almost 14 years now. It is necessary not only to ensure justice for the victims of the serious crimes committed in Darfur, but also to enable the emergence of the rule of law in the Sudan and the stabilization of the country.
In that respect, France roundly condemns the violence that has taken place in the Sudan in recent weeks. Peaceful protests have been repressed with immense brutality. Such a disproportionate use of force is unacceptable. We urge all the actors involved to show restraint and to refrain from the use of violence. We recall that the Transitional Military Council is responsible for the security of all the Sudanese people. France asks that light be shed on the abuses that have been committed, including acts of sexual violence, which were described by Pramila Patten in her very worrisome communiqué last week. The perpetrators must answer for their actions. In this respect, we deplore the postponement sine die by the relevant Sudanese committee of the publication of the results of the investigation into the violence that took place on 3 June in Khartoum. We call for that outcome to be made known as quickly as possible.
What is at stake now is the resumption of a political dialogue between the generals of the Transitional Military Council and the opposition, with a view to achieving a negotiated, consensus-based, civilian-led transition. France commends the determined stance of the African Union in this respect. We hope that the United Nations will fully support the mediation efforts undertaken by the African Union and supported by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia. It is vital that the African Union-led mediation be supported at every level and by all parties. While all efforts are welcome, it is also important that they be coordinated and harmonized with those of the African Union.
We are also extremely worried by the reports of violence in Darfur in recent weeks, notably in Jebel Marra, as mentioned previously, which make clear once again the volatility of the situation in the region. We know that Darfur is an unstable region and that the root causes of the conflict there, including access to land and the future of 2 million displaced persons, have not truly been resolved. We must do everything we can to prevent the region from spiralling once again into violence and conflict. The presence and protection provided by the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur are essential in this respect.
The fight against impunity is also key, and the Sudan must fulfil its responsibilities in this area. It is now more vital than ever that the Sudan allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to conclude its investigation. The Sudan must cooperate with the Court in accordance with resolution 1593 (2005), and among other things that involves the execution of the arrest warrants issued by the ICC and the transfer of suspects to the Court.
In the context of the obligation to cooperate, France would like to recall that the immunity enjoyed by representatives of States under customary international law, which is crucial to the good conduct of international relations and to which there can be no exception, can be removed only by an express renunciation of the States concerned, just like the one to which the States parties to the Rome Statute consented, which applies also to non-States parties whose situation has been referred to the Court by the Security Council.
By transferring to the Court suspects who are subject to an ICC arrest warrant and who are already in detention, the Sudanese authorities would be not only fulfilling their international obligations but also sending a strong message to the international community that they are determined to put an end to impunity.
We also call on the Sudanese authorities to allow the Prosecutor’s teams access to Darfur to gather the necessary information, as she called for earlier.
Such developments would constitute a concrete demonstration of the will of the Sudan to take a decisive step towards justice, peace and an acknowledgement of the crimes committed in Darfur. It would also be a very important stage in the country’s political transition and stabilization.